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Land, dull market impact mines auction

Mines-DC-with story

Press Trust of India



New Delhi, May 30: Land ownership, a subdued market as well as restrictive end use norms imposed by states in the bidding are some of the reasons for lack of interest shown by the industry towards participation in the mines auction. States had allocated a total of 47 mines bearing minerals such as gold, iron ore, bauxite and limestone for auction in the first round. However, the process had to be deferred for 17 blocks due to insufficient bids.

          Seven months after auction process was initiated across 12-mineral bearing states, only six blocks have managed to find buyers – prompting the Centre to direct states to put in “greater efforts”. The auctioned six mines will earn revenue, including royalties, of Rs 18,146 crore. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh informed the Centre that though they had put up mineral blocks for auction, the e-auction of 17 mineral blocks had to be deferred due to insufficient number of applications of initial bids, Mines Ministry said Monday. “States informed that the key issues have been identified viz quantity and grade of ore, quality of the mineralization studies, land ownership pattern, general dull market scenario and restrictive end use conditions imposed by the states in the bidding documents,” it added.

          States assured that they are already in the process of resolving these issues and would be re-tendering the blocks soon, the ministry said. The findings form part of the high-level National Meet of Mining ministers, chaired by Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in Jaipur last week. Most states have constituted District Mineral Foundation (DMF) and the rest — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu — have committed that they would also complete the process of notifying the rules in one months’ time. Mines ministry said almost Rs 1,000 crore has been collected into the DMFs by the state governments.

          Besides, states gave unanimous commitment to support the Centre’s initiative of development of a Mining Surveillance System (MSS) for major minerals. “They promised to give lease maps of the minor mineral leases which fall within the 500 metre perimeter of major mineral lease, besides giving the lease data of leftover major mining leases (mostly non-working),” the ministry said. States agreed to extend the MSS for detecting illegal mining activities in respect to minor mineral leases as it can be easily replicated for all minor minerals, where illegal mining is more rampant, it added.



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Water stressed villagers gherao block office

Bangiripossi: Over 1,500 residents of Kaliami, Silpunji and Majhigaon villages Monday gheraoed the block office here in Mayurbhanj district in protest against water scarcity in the area prevailing for the last 15 days.

According to sources, hundreds of families residing in the three villages depend on the water supplied to them from river Budhabalanga. However, due to a technical snag in the pump house, water supply has been disrupted to the villages for the last 15 days.

Sarpanch Sunimani Singh brought the matter to the notice of rural water supply and sanitation (RWSS) junior engineer Narayan Bhoi, but to no avail, the villagers alleged.

“All our pleas to solve the water problem fell on deaf ears,” the villagers said.

About 1,500 men and women Monday gheraoed the block office carrying empty buckets and pitchers in protest against the administration’s apathy.

The block development officer (BDO) pacified the angry people. The agitators relented after the BDO assured them of repairing the snag within two days. The villages would be supplied water through tankers till the pump was repaired.

The protesters also demanded tube wells in the villages to which the BDO agreed.   PNN

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25-km travel to collect rations

Kendrapara: NFSA beneficiaries of a village in Aul block have to travel 20-25 km to collect their monthly quota of rations from their nearest retail centres. This way, they spend nearly double the amount of subsidy they avail under the Central scheme, a report said.   

As many as 42 beneficiaries of Manikapatana gram panchayat under Aul block have been collecting their monthly subsidised rations from dealers, whose counters are situated 20 to 25 km away from the village.

“We had given the nearest dealers’ names while applying for ration cards. But due to callousness of officials concerned, the dealers whose counters are 20-25 km away from our village have been entrusted to supply rations,” said Padmanav Panda, a beneficiary.

For the last four months, 42 beneficiaries, including several elderly women, have been going to retail counters located at Gobindapur, Koladiha and Mahu, which are not less than 20 km away from their village, to collect their monthly ration quotas, said Pramila Parida, another beneficiary.

The beneficiaries have been spending not less than Rs 50 each per month towards conveyance for collecting rations.

“Though we get subsidised rice, to collect it we have to spend Rs 50,” said Sarat Kumar Rout, a resident of Manikapatana.

“We have brought our plight to the notice of officials from panchayat to district level, but it yielded no results,” alleged Padmanav.

According to reports, this is just the tip of the iceberg. More than 1,200 NFSA beneficiaries of 32 panchayats under the block have been facing the same problem in collecting their monthly rations.

District civil supply officer Ramnath Sahu said the matter has come to his notice and he has directed the BDO to tag the beneficiaries with retail counters nearest to their village.

The beneficiaries who have been collecting rations from far away dealers have been asked to submit applications in this regard to their respective marketing inspectors, said Sahu said.  PNN


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Ban on diesel vehicles a transient phase: Jaitley

Press Trust of India      


Lead pic-2

Tokyo, May 30: Playing down the ban on registration of large diesel vehicles in the national capital region, Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said it is a “transient phase” and Japanese auto giant Suzuki is unlikely to be impacted given the overall large market it has got in India. Jaitley, who arrived here Sunday on a six-day trip to Japan to meet investors and policymakers, is scheduled to meet Suzuki Motor Chairman Osamu Suzuki Monday.

     “I think the Indian auto sector is extremely comfortably placed. This is all transient phase which happens and I don’t think that with the kind of large market that Suzuki has, it is in any way likely to be adversely affected,” he said. He was asked about his meeting with Suzuki amid policy uncertainly in India after the ban on diesel vehicles of over 2,000 cc in the national capital region of Delhi and Kerala to curb pollution. The ban on sale of large diesel cars and sport utility vehicles with engines of two litres or more was first imposed in December and was recently extended to Kerala. The one in Kerala, however, has been temporarily stayed by the state high court.

     It has led to some automakers reworking their plans and introducing models with petrol options or smaller diesel engines. Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava had last month termed the ban as “totally arbitrary”. Stating that cars are universally targeted for causing pollution as they represent “the well-off section of society”, he had reasoned that cars contributed to only around 2 per cent of pollution in the capital. Also, “nothing has been done about polluting old cars”. Maruti Suzuki, the country’s leading automaker, has about 60 per cent of market share for petrol vehicles while for the diesel segment, the share stands at 28 per cent. Earlier this month, the world’s largest automaker Toyota said the restrictions would be the “worst advertisement of India”.

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